Muslim in Michigan detained by INS

Tuesday, December 18, 2001

DETROIT -- A Muslim who serves on the board of a group suspected of funding terrorism has been detained by federal immigration officials on a visa violation, his attorney said Monday.

Attorney Ashraf Nubani said his client, Rabih Haddad, was detained by the Immigration and Naturalization Service on Friday, the same day federal agents raided the offices of Global Relief Foundation of Bridgeview, Ill. Haddad, 41, is on the group's board of trustees.

INS officials refused to comment on the case, and the FBI referred all questions to the immigration agency. Nubani said INS officials told him Haddad, a Lebanese native who lives in Ann Arbor, would be held without bond or a detention hearing. He has a wife and four children here.

The assets of the foundation have been frozen by the federal government because it the group is among those suspected of funding terrorist activities. Messages left with the Global Relief Foundation on Monday were not returned.

No arrests were made during the raid. Two Global Relief Foundation offices in Yugoslavia were also searched Friday by NATO-led peacekeepers and U.N. police. A NATO spokesman said three people were detained but gave no details.

Nubani said Haddad came to the United States in 1998 on a tourist visa that has since expired. He said Haddad has applied for permanent residency and blamed the detention on the post-Sept. 11 political climate.

Michael Steinberg, legal director of the ACLU of Michigan, called Haddad a beloved member of the community.

"In my view the federal agents are destroying any trust that exists between the law enforcement and the Arab community," Steinberg said.

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